Parents urged to take measures to keep their kids safe online by educating their children and using protected social networking sites.
A recent survey conducted by YourKidsEd.com.au on behalf of SuperClubsPLUS Australia has revealed that nearly half of all parents in the survey group believe their child to be at risk when visiting social networking sites, and that roughly the same percentage would be unsure of what do to if their child was unsafe.
The online safety survey was conducted in December by YourKidsEd (www.yourkidsed.com.au), the Australian parenting site dedicated to helping parents educate, inspire and enrich their children. 137 parents responded to the questionnaire. Sophia Dimitropoulos, Director of YourKidsEd, says that parents are becoming increasingly aware of the online risks their children face.
Dr. Martyn Wild, cybersafety expert and education researcher at La Trobe University, and Director of SuperClubsPLUS Australia (www.superclubsplus.com.au) , says that parents’ fears are well-founded. “There seems to be an explosion, of late, of social networks targeted at children, all portrayed as being ‘safe and protected’. Or so they claim. Unfortunately the public intent is often a long way from the truth.”
What makes a truly safe (or safe-r) social network? Dr. Wild recommends that parents:
1. Know who runs the social network.
Is the organisation trustworthy? Are they (physically) based in your own country and easily reached?
2. Know how to contact them.
Do they publish a contact phone number for concerned parents and teachers? Can you reach them by email? Do they respond to your questions?
3. Ensure the members of the network are validated.
Are the members of the social network validated (age authenticated)? Is it easy for unauthorised adults to join up?
4. Confirm the kids are mediated when online.
What happens when kids run into trouble – bullying for example? Can children turn to specialist mediators immediately if they encounter any issues such as bullying?
5. Be informed.
A safe social network for kids will provide tools whereby teachers or parents can elect to receive notifications about their children’s behaviours online.
Finally, Dr. Wild says that while no social network can ever guarantee to keep your child safe, the best ones have appropriate technologies and processes in place to ensure that only real children have access, and that these children engage with each other safely and with respect, while having fun!
YourKidsEd.com.au (www.yourkidsed.com.au) is dedicated to helping Australian parents educate, enrich, and inspire their children. YourKidsEd has a rich collection of resources on education, schools, learning activities and well-being for families of school-age children, including a range of cyber-safety links and expert tips. Registered members receive regular updates and take part in competitions and surveys. Registration is free.
P: 03 9410-9618
SuperClubsPLUS Australia (www.superclubsplus.com.au) is the only age-verified and actively protected social learning network in Australia for young children, 6-12 years (with upwards of 200,000 members globally and over 100,000 now in Australia and New Zealand). SuperClubsPLUS is a safe alternative to the wider-known social networks and actively encourages and stimulates children to practice how to be, and how to keep safe online at all times. For more information, watch this video: http://vimeo.com/6862885
Dr. Martyn Wild
P: 1300 973 887